How Can I Do Research with or about Chicago Public Schools?
Chicago Public Schools has several processes in place to help external researchers collect data. The CPS Research Team groups requests for data into two broad categories: primary data and secondary data.
Primary Data: The Research Review Board (RRB) oversees decisions regarding primary data collection (i.e. survey, focus group, or interviews) that takes place inside CPS schools, or leverages CPS resources for any part of the research process.
Secondary Data: If your study and/or evaluation will require secondary administrative data on individuals (CPS staff or student level data) a formal request must be submitted through the External Data Request Form. School and District level data can be found publicly on our school data page and the City of Chicago’s Data Portal. Requests for student level data without active parental consent will be denied.
Please see the RRB Guidelines attached at the bottom of this web page for more information on any of the topics discussed.
The Research Review Board (RRB)
The CPS RRB meets on a six week cycle to review external research proposals. RRB approval is required before researchers enter CPS schools and begin study activities. Although RRB approval is necessary to begin, school principals and administrators do have the final decision regarding any study activity; RRB approval does not override the wishes of school leadership and/or staff. The RRB is chaired by representatives from the CPS Research Team and is made up members from various Chicago Public Schools offices. Please do not submit proposals to the RRB if your study and/or request ONLY involves the use of secondary administrative data. Please see the RRB Guidelines for more information on the process and policy outlined below.
How do I apply to the Research Review Board?
A new RRB application submission must include:
- Four paper copies of the RRB application and any other relevant documents (i.e. Instruments, Consent forms, IRB approval, etc.).
- $50 processing delivered with the four paper copies. Payment must be check or money order, and addressed to Chicago Public Schools.
- One digital copy of all paper materials sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paper copies and processing fee can be mailed or dropped off at the front desk of our Loop Office at 42. W Madison.
Mail paper copies and processing fee to:
Chicago Public Schools
Office of Planning and Data Management | Attn: RRB
42 W. Madison St., Garden Level
Chicago, IL 60602
What if I am submitting documents for a re-submission or modifications/continuing review for an existing RRB project?
Modifications and Continuing Review
Modifications and continuing review applications are reviewed on a rolling basis; these are not adherent to the dates found on the Research Review Board Calendar. A $50 processing fee is still required for consideration. These must be delivered or mailed to using the address for RRB submissions. However, researchers have the discretion to decide if they would like to submit paper or digital materials. Digital materials emailed to email@example.com are preferred.
If a RRB proposal was neither approved nor denied, and a request for more information was made by CPS, it is up to the researcher to decide how they wish to respond. Typically, after a re-submission request is made by CPS, external partners email firstname.lastname@example.org with their follow up to the re-submission request. Follow up materials typically include Word or PDF responses to the individual items highlighted by CPS.
What if I am a graduate student who wishes to partner with CPS to fulfill some requirement of my education?
The CPS RRB does consider proposals from graduate students (Masters, Doctoral, etc.). Most often, graduate students wish to engage with CPS to complete a Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation. A Graduate Student Screening Form is first required to be reviewed and approved before a full RRB submission can be made. Please see the RRB Guidelines for more information.
External Data Requests for Secondary Administrative Data
A full description of this process can be found within the RRB Guidelines. Our office responds to requests within 30 days. If approved, request fulfillment takes an additional 30 days.When you are ready to make your submission, please complete the External Data Request Form. Requests for student level data without active parental consent will be denied.Requests for de-identified student and/or staff level data will be considered, but please note that these requests are typically denied. To protect our students, CPS chooses to employ a strict definition of what is considered identifiable, as outlined in the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). This form is reserved for use by CPS partners working in collaboration with the district. That can include program providers seeking data for funding continuation or evaluating program implementation, or RRB approved researchers. This form IS NOT to be used by students, undergraduate, graduate or otherwise. If you submit this as a student, solely for the purposes of your education (excluding RRB approved graduate student researchers) the request will be denied.
Resources for the RRB and External Data Requests
Graduate Student Screening Form
External Data Request Form
CPS Research Study & Data Policy
Family Education Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)